Holiday gift guide: Books for babies

Halloween has come and gone, which means Christmas is right around the corner—at least if you’re listening to radio commercials and shopping, um, anywhere. (I swear the Christmas displays were up before I could stalk the aisles for discounted Halloween candy.)

But with all the tasks I’m juggling, I’m a big fan of getting holiday shopping done early. You too? Well, good news: here’s our baby-tested holiday gift guide, books for babies edition.

The 10 best books for babies: This gift guide makes your Christmas shopping list easy for kids in the family! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

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Our favorite children’s books with no words

This post contains affiliate links. Clicking, then buying something, earns me a few pennies. All opinions remain my own. Read more on my policies and disclosures page.


A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes a wordless picture book is worth a big ol’ internet shout-out. These, our 10 favorite children’s books with no words, are just those.

Wordless picture books still have a lot of story in 'em. Here are our favorite children's books without words. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Wordless picture books can be intimidating to adults: You have to wing it, since there is no text to read. But making up a story as you go along—and letting your child have a go at storytelling, too—is fun and fosters pre-literacy skills in little readers.

Children’s books with no words encourage imagination and curiosity in kids; they lead little ones to begin to tell stories; they prompt kids to look for plot clues in illustrations; and they promote close listening, as the story may change each time you read the book.

But don’t take my word for it. Check out these children’s books with no words the next time you’re at the library and see for yourself. Read more

My literary comfort blanket: Roald Dahl’s The BFG

This post contains an affiliate link to the book The BFG. Please see my policies and disclosures page for more information.


Growing up, Roald Dahl’s the BFG was a BFD. I seriously loved that book.

Scratch that. I love—present tense—that book.

When I'm stressed, I turn to children's books and literature to relax. Roald Dahl's The BFG is my go-to title. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

The BFG (which stands for the Big Friendly Giant, for all of you not in the Roald Dahl know) was my favorite book for years. Over and over I read about how Sophie befriended the BFG and together with the Queen of England’s help rounded up all the mean, children’s bone-gnashing giants.

I laughed at (and gobblefunked with) the BFG’s hilarious words (snozzcumber!!!) and wondered what dreams he’d trumpet into my room each night.

So today, on Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday, I say thank you to my all-time favorite children’s book author. Read more

Bear curriculum for homeschool preschool

Think back to your childhood and, probably, a treasured teddy bear was there to comfort and cuddle you. Your kids might be the same—Peeper is. Although she sleeps with a stuffed Elmo and a Findus the Cat most nights, a few bears are among her most treasured lovies.

I thought it would be fun, then, to structure a homeschool preschool meeting around a bear curriculum. Grrrrr!

Want to use a bear theme to teach your preschooler, too? Here’s the bear curriculum we used at preschool recently.

homeschool preschool bear curriculum

Books

I started the bear curriculum by reading two books. First we read The Teddy Bear Picnic (which, by the by, is a song). The kids had such a fun time spotting bears in the book that looked like the teddy bears they brought from home!

We also read We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. It’s fun to do motions for each obstacle the family traverses—wave your arms for the wavy grass, tiptoe when they go through the cave. (FYI, you should totally check out Michael Rosen acting out his book—he is hilarious!)

These books also set up the later activities. Read more

Shapes curriculum for homeschool preschool

Circles and squares and triangles, oh my! From a round Ritz cracker to angular blocks, shapes fill preschoolers’ lives. It makes sense, then, to teach our kids all about shapes. At a recent homeschool preschool I hosted, we did just that, and here I’m sharing my shapes curriculum.

Why learn about shapes?

In fact, shapes form the foundation for later, more advanced skills like writing and math. Learning how to write the letter A, for example, is easier if a child already knows about triangles. And sorting shapes—grouping squares together, say—is a fundamental concept that will later help with math skills.

Children use shapes to sort out the world. (So do adults! You might look for a circle to find a cylinder of Quaker Oats, or recognize four squares as the Microsoft logo.) So learning about shapes gives kids more tools to understand all the information around them.

Finally, understanding shapes widens their vocabulary. You can talk about much more with your kiddos once they have the words to describe the shape of something. (But beware: This skill may make your kids kitchen tyrants—No, Mom, I wanted my sandwich in TRIANGLES!)

A shapes curriculum makes learning fun

Ready to teach your preschooler? Here, then, is our shapes curriculum—a low-pressure, fun, experiential way to learn about shapes.

Homeschool preschool shapes curriculum Read more

Our favorite children’s books: Books to say “no” to

Pretty much the day Peeper turned two, she rediscovered the word “no”—and all its power (to refuse, to state her opinion, to frustrate her parents…). Nowadays, one of her most used responses is the “no-yes,” an expression unique to toddlers who simultaneously refuse and demand things like popsicles and bunny crackers.

It makes sense, then, that Peeper delights in books that give voice to this milestone. Here, then, are some titles your little one can say “no” to again and again.

Favorite Children's Books to Say No To

 

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The 10 Best Unconventional Alphabet Books: What we’re reading

The 10 Best Unconventional ABC BooksI am so sick of “X is for xylophone.”

I get it. There aren’t many words that start with x. And “X is for xenopus” will likely garner blank stares from the preschool set.

But when you read books to kids nonstop, the tedium of alphabet books can become A is for aggravating.

So here is me being H is for helpful. Nab these unorthodox alphabet books the next time you’re at the library. You and your kids will love breaking free of the predictability of A to Z. Read more